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every one of us, “Great is thy faith, be it unto thee even as thou wilt!"
The Evangelist begins the relation of this transaction thus, “ Behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David, my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.” ver. 22.
There is something very moving and worthy of note in all her prayer, and even in the manner in which she uttered it: She cried. Perhaps she saw the multitude round about him, and could not get near, which was the case of many, and yet was so eager to be helped, so needy and distressed, that she could not wait till the congregation was dismissed, and therefore cried out to him. Here one may learn, that when a soul wants the divine help, and is in distress, their best and most simple way is, to cry unto “ him who is able to save," namely, Jesus Christ, who saith, “ Come to me all ye that are weary and heavy laden—and I will give you rest for your souls," Matth. xi. 28. It is a bad sign when men can postpone and put off the time of their salvation, with faintly and coldly saying, I hope the Lord will have mercy upon me before I die. Such is not the language of one poor in spirit; nor of the soul that wants a Saviour, for then the captive exile hastens to be delivered, or as David expresses it, “My soul longeth, yea even fainteth; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God," Psalm lxxxiv. 1. And again, ": As the bart panteth for the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God,” Psalm xlii. 1.
So in another place be says, “ One deep calleth to ano- ; ther:” (that is, the deep of our misery to the deep of his mercy) “ Out of the deep have I called unto thee, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice!" This is the case with "awakened souls; they want deliverance.
They hunger and thirst after righteousness, and cannot rest till Jesus hath given them rest. Thus St. Paul, when he was first convinced of his sad estate, and felt (notwithstanding all the righteousness of which he before boasted) that he was a poor miserable sinner, neither ate nor drank for three days, but continued crying out, “ Lord, what wouldst thou have me to do?” Acts ix. 3. Nor did he cease crying till he had obtained redemption in the blood of Jesus, even the forgiveness of his sins. The same is said of Bartimeus the beggar, He cried for mercy, when he heard Jesus passed by: and when the people forbad him to pray so, he cried so much the more a great deal : and then ye know what followed; Jesus stood still, commanded him to be brought to him, granted his request; and blessed him. As long as the poor blind man cried, Jesus could not go forward. His heart is so tenderly affected towards poor sinners, that he cannot leave the poor when he crieth, the needy, and him that has no helper ; but properly and strictly is the friend of sinners.
We have many instances in the scripture of his immediately helping such as applied to him with tears and cries, such as the poor leper, Mary Magdalene, Peter, &c. and by these we are taught to cry to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world; for let who will oppose, he is the person that hears prayer. "On his name whosoever calls shall be saved,” Rom. X. 13. compare Acts iv. 12.
Thus, then, the woman cried to him (the words of the prayer were) “ Have mercy upon me, O Lord!" First, the inspired writers tell us she was a heathen, a Gentile, and then describe her as calling to Jesus the Lord. How can this be? It is unlikely she had read the prophets, or expected a
Messiah whose name should be Immanuel; and had she believed this, she could 110 longer have been reckoned among the Gentiles, but rather among the proselytes.
But the truth is, she, no doubt, bad heard what a prophet, - mighty in word and deed, was risen in Israel. How he healed the sick, raised the dead, cured the lepers, dispossessed demons, and helped all who were possessed of the devil, &e. And like as in all ages, God blesses the preaching of Jesus Christ, with the witness of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of men, so then did the Lord certainly bless the report of Jesus to the poor woman by the same Spirit, and taught her who this Prophet was, wherefore she calls him Lord.
" No man can call Jesus the Lord but by the Holy Ghost.” And this must be allowed, that it is an eternal blessing to a soul to know Jesus, or else, how can it pray to him, or believe in him? It would not be right to call upon him, or worship him, or expect to be saved by him, if he was not
God over all blessed for ever. “ If thou knewest who it is that speaketh with thee,” said our Saviour to the woman of Samaria, “ thou wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water,' John iv. 10. Thus the foundation of our praying to Jesus, and calling upon his name, is the believe ing that he is truly and eternally Lord and God. This was the ancient way of praying, and what has never failed.
“ In his name shall they glory; in his name shall they put their trust. They shall call upon his name and be saved. Prayer shall be made daily to him. To him shall all flesh come. Every knee shall bow to him, and every tongue confess that he is the Lord.”
The subject of the woman's petition was mercy. “ Have mercy upon me, O Lord!” The
knowledge knowledge of our great want of mercy, has brought many thousands to the kingdom of heaven. A sense of their poor lost estate, their corrupt and spoiled heart, their degenerate nature, the guilt of sin, and a mispent life; the fear of death, the dreadful looking for of judgment, the restless condition and uneasy state of soul, makes them long with insatiable longing for mercy. No words suit so well with a soul thus truly awakened as these, “ Have mercy upon me, O Lord !” And it is to me a good sign, where a sinner cannot rest until he has obtained mercy.
But, I confess, it does not seem to be such a sense of sin which I have been speaking of, which inade this woman call upon the name of our Saviour. It seems as if she had been a poor woman (perhaps a widow) who had one daughter, and she was grievously vexed, or possessed of a devil; and bearing what wonders Jesus had wrought in healing the disease, she also comes to him and begs for her child. It was downright trouble that brought her to Christ. Perhaps she had no sense of her spiritual wants, but thought if her little daughter was but well, that was all she wanted to make her life happy. Therefore the purport of her prayer was, Lord! I am a poor woman whose daughter is possessed ; on her account I have no comfort. My dear child, that should have been a joy to me in my old years and disconsolate condition, is rather a burden, and my life is bit: ter to me,
this account; have mercy upon me, and cure her.
Thou hast had mercy upon very many all round about, my neighbours tell me of thy wonders and cures,
“ Thou Son of David, help me!" This last part of her prayer, wherein she calls our Saviour the Son of David, seems to imply so much: 0 Lord, who hast humbled
2 H 2
thyself to be man, and to feel the informities
was pitiable, and